Today’s Big Aussie Right-Wing Meltdown Is About Electric Cars

The right-wing outrage cycle in Australia is always fun to tune into, because 99% of the time it’s old perverts on six figure salaries crying about things which don’t affect them and nobody gives a shit about – Rowan Dean, I’m looking at you, buddy. Sometimes it aligns with the national conversation, other times it doesn’t. Life goes on.

Today’s entry in the sookfest is a real throwback to the outrage du jour of 2010: electric cars. Fuckin’ electric cars! You have to charge them and shit! It’s greenie bullshit! They don’t roar like the souped-up muscle cars in Death Race 2000! They’re probably gay!

At the beginning of the week, Bill Shorten announced details of the so-called ‘Cleaner Transport Future’ – a plan which would aim for half of all new cars in Australia to be electric by 2030. The plan involves a number of policy levers – many adopted by countries with far stronger electric car adoption like Norway – like tax incentives, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and facilitating coordination between the states on electric vehicle policy.

Of course, anyone even remotely concerned about the state of the planet thinks that phasing in electric vehicles is the bare minimum we should be doing. But this broad policy aim has instantly driven conservatives insane.

50% of new cars would represent up to 500,000 vehicles; a huge policy goal to try and knock down in eleven years. But as you’ll see from conservatives, they’re not really taking issue with the ambition of the plan per se – they’re just freaking out about electric cars altogether.

Here’s this, from the incredibly normal people at Sky News:

“As a woman, I have to say I don’t want the unreliability of driving a car, realising I’ve run out of power in the middle of the night somewhere and standing there for four or five hours for a car to charge – it’s nonsense,” says former Tony Abbott chief of staff Peta Credlin.

Daily Telegraph opinion editor James Morrow continues the extremely measured conversation. “We need to see this government prosecute the case that BILL SHORTEN IS COMING FOR YOUR CAR KEYS!”

Here’s Barnaby Joyce, saying that electric cars are nonsense because they are small and therefore will be obliterated when running into kangaroos. No, seriously, that’s his angle.

Andrew Bolt, who believes that climate change is an Illuminati conspiracy centuries in the making intended to steal his wallet, strangely also finds the concept of electric cars alarming.

“There are reasons why Australians don’t like electric cars,” Bolt says. He goes on to fire off a laundry list of said reasons, including the fact they need to be charged, and that “batteries wear down”. Most of his time is dedicated to panicking about how long it takes to charge an electric car from absolutely flat – wherein he imagines a dystopian landscape of millions of battlers hanging around servos waiting for their cars to charge while being a bit bored.

It’s bizarre seeing exactly the same arguments about electric vehicles that we saw a decade ago repeated by people who fully know they’re going to be dead before the worst impacts hit. They don’t give a shit because they don’t have to. They can burn Australia’s petrol reserves in a great big bonfire and not have to worry about climate change, if they so desired.

This is not to say that Labor’s policy is perfect, or even particularly great in the specifics. It’s clear that Shorten is not across the specific details of the electric car plan inasmuch as they actually exist.

But it’s important to remember that the people railing hardest against electric vehicles and the phasing out of petrol vehicles hate it for purely and stupidly ideological reasons – policy is second to that.

They’re coming from the oldest political position known to humanity: fuck you, got mine.